Easy Peasy Campfire Meal

When I was younger, I recall camping being a time to eat all the snacks that weren’t normally in our house. This included things like wrapped Hostess snacks, chips, and all other “unhealthy” treats. Dinners usually consisted of hot dogs, brats or burgers on the grill. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good burger or brat on a campfire, but this year I wanted to mix things up a little bit and balance out our meals between the s’mores & strawberry ice cream. Some healthy snacks I packed were grapes, strawberries, hummus & pita chips. The not so healthy: all the accoutraments for s’mores, cookies, crackers,  and Trader Joe’s Chicago mix popcorn {warning: if you purchase this, you will eat the whole bag, to say there are 4 servings in there is absurd ;-) }.
During the week, hubs sent me a link to campfire foil meals. I looked at the recipe and thought “easy enough” but instead of using the ingredients listed, I came up with my own (delicious) version using some of the vegetables I had from our garden and some purchased from the store. Instead of using chicken breasts, I used chicken thighs. I’ve been on a chicken thigh kick lately because 1: it’s delicious-there’s more fat on them than chicken breasts so the meat doesn’t dry out as much and 2: chicken thighs contain higher amounts of iron & zinc-two things that runners don’t get enough of but is vitally important to maintain good health. You can read about the “why” here.  
The most time consumer part of this meal was cutting up all the vegetables. This recipe comes along with easy clean up and can be done from your oven at home or over the grill.
Foil Pack Meals
  • 1 pound of chicken meat cut up and cubed
  • 1 onion diced
  • 1 8oz container of sliced mushrooms
  • 1 green bell pepper, sliced
  • 2 medium sized sweet pototoes, peeled & cubed
  • 6 cloves of garlic sliced very thinly (I cut mine w/a kitchen scissors)
  • 1 large zuchinni sliced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 juiced lemon
  • salt, pepper, and thyme to taste
Take all the ingredients beside the olive oil and lemon and combine in a large zip-lock bag. Sprinkle the season on there to your heart’s content (I never measure out seasoning for cooking, I just “eye it up”). After the meat and veggies are seasoned, pour in your olive oil and lemon juice. Make sure the bag is zip locked tight or else you will end up with an oily bag-I speak from experience :-) When you are ready to cook, lay out 4-5 good sized pieces of aluminum foil and spread evenly. Wrap the packets up really tight and then take another piece of aluminum foil and wrap it up tight again to make sure they won’t fall apart. Cook for about 35-40 minutes or until the chicken is opaque and the vegetables are tender. Remove for fire (very carefully) unwrap and enjoy!    
If you try it out, let me know how you liked it and what vegetables you used! I’m off to go finish my tomato sauce canning party…my first canning experience ever!  Wish me luck!

A Weekend At Devil’s Lake

This past weekend we took our first family camping trip.   On Saturday morning, we packed up our car and headed to Devil’s Lake for a weekend of tent camping, hiking, and beach fun. On our way up, we made a little pit stop.
IMG_2696Wollersheim is one of my favorite wineries around. As many times as I’ve been to this place, I have yet to take a tour (on our Fall to-do list!)-I’ve only enjoyed the tastings. They offer a free tasting and then you can choose to upgrade to either a white wine tasting or red wine tasting for $3 bucks if you choose. We did our tastings: I chose white and hubs chose red & we shared :-) Madelyn was behaving exceptionally well-I think the homemade grape juice and crayons were keeping her occupied.IMG_2716After our tasting, we took a little walk around the grounds, explored the cave, and then sat and enjoyed some wine, cheese, and summer sausage (only in Wisconsin).
 IMG_2717When our time at Wollersheim was up, we headed up to Devil’s Lake to set up camp. It was quite the challenge trying to help hubs with the tent while trying to entertain Madelyn. Enter Goldfish crackers for the win.
IMG_2723That first day camping with a toddler was a little trying. It definitely wasn’t the relaxing camping trips we were used to. We brought stuff for her to do, but she wanted to help build fires and climb on things instead. By the end of the evening, I looked over at hubs and half-jokingly said, “Do you want to go home tomorrow?” Things got a little better once we settled down to roast marshmallows and had Madelyn eat her first s’more.
IMG_2758On Sunday, our teeny, tiny alarm clock woke us up at 6am. Hubs got the campfire going and I cooked breakfast over the fire. I premade an egg scramble at home on Friday night: eggs, spinach, mushrooms, bacon, goat cheese and milk. It worked out perfectly and tasted really good. 
IMG_2767After we were done eating and cleaning up, we ventured down to Devil’s Lake beach area and did a hike around the lake. I carried this not so little bundle on my back for the entire 4 mile hike. 
IMG_2772The terrain on this particular trail is pretty easy. There were a few spots where I had to brace myself and climb up a little, but we made it. Madelyn passed out about half-way through and then woke up about 20 minutes later. We ended our hike at the beach, ate some lunch and played in the sand and water for awhile. Later, we came back to our campsite, took showers and ate an early dinner. To avoid a repeat of antsy toddler syndrome, we headed into “The Dells” and walked around, saw some funny t-shirts, and ate ice cream cones. For the last year Madelyn has been dairy-free. Turns out the issue was actually her adenoids, so we started slowly introducing dairy back into her diet. So far so good and this past weekend she experienced her first ice cream cone. Strawberry for the win.   
IMG_2789On Monday morning we woke up a little later (6:30ish) to a yellow sky, tall blowing trees, and a torrential downpour. My first initial thought is we have to get the hell out of here! I drove Madelyn to the bathroom to change her and get her cleaned up while Larry started gather our belongings up. When I returned, I left Madelyn in the car while I tried to help Larry get stuff together. The rain was coming down even harder and the wind was picking up. I was a nervous wreck and wasn’t much help at all because all I could think about is a tree falling on our car with Madelyn in it. It was like he read my mind as that thought came into my head because a few seconds later he suggested we just leave everything, head into the dells for breakfast and come back when the weather lets up. So we headed to Paul Bunyon’s (in our pajamas) and ate a delicious breakfast of homemade donuts, coffee, eggs and sausage. It definitely hit the spot! I’m so glad we left when we did because on our way into town we saw trees and powerlines down. The storm was pretty bad. It let up a little bit by the time we got back, but we had to put everything away in the rain. Our tent is set up in our backyard drying out as we speak. Overall, it was a great trip and it was nice to create memories and start traditions with Madelyn. We’re soaking up every last bit of summer we can over here!   
The Friday before we left, I went on what was apparently a super-sweaty run. Just a quick 4 miles (the heat and humidity got the best of me) and when I looked down at my phone the colors were all distorted. I took it out of my armband case and the screen went blank. I turned it off, took the cover off and removed the battery. I tried the phone in rice trick and by Saturday morning, my screen was on but the touchscreen part of it was not working. The vacation gods forced me to unplug for the weekend (with the exception of 1 Instagram pic) which I am thankful for-it forced me to use our fancy camera. I’m not happy about having to pay for a brand-new phone (we canceled phone insurance a few months ago) but I am happy to have my iPhone back. The galaxy is a good phone but it just wasn’t for me. I also purchased a Lifeproof waterproof case to go with it, you know for all those extra-sweaty runs! ;-)
I’ll be back tomorrow with a healthy, camp-friendly meal!!
How are you enjoying these last few days of summer? BBQs, baseball games and weddings over here this weekend! 

5 Things Friday

5. This blog post. I stumbled across Gina’s blog a few years ago through the Lululemon ambassador site. I was drawn to her style of writing and what her blog was all about. Her goal is to run a marathon in all 50 states. She’s not a daily blogger; she posts mainly just about each marathon she’s recently ran and what’s going on in her life at the time. In her latest post, she talks about her battle with Lyme disease and running. It hit home to me because my mom suffered with Lyme long before anyone even knew what was wrong with her. Gina’s such an inspiration to all runners out there! 

4. Trader Joe’s Sunflower butter. This stuff is addicting. Smooth. Sweet but not full of sugar. I eat it with apples, toast, or by the spoonful. It doesn’t last very long in our house. 

3. Using your child as a weight. Madelyn still likes to be picked up from time to time so I try to make it fun for her and turn it into an arm workout for myself.


Mama gets a good ab workout in table top and Madelyn thinks we’re playing airplane.  A win win for everyone. 

2. Homemade pasta sauce with homegrown tomatoes and garlic. This working mama is all about fast, easy, healthy and delicious meals. Last night, I was feeling like spaghetti and meat sauce for dinner. Easy enough right? But I couldn’t justify buying jarred pasta sauce and spaghetti noodles when I had a TON of zucchini and tomatoes to use from my garden. So I whipped up this quick batch of pasta sauce and spiraled some zucchini.

vitamix sauce


Sauce includes: 8 medium roma tomatoes, 1/2 onion chopped, 1 small green bell pepper, 4 garlic cloves peeled,  4 TBSP tomato paste, 1 tsp dried basil, 1 tsp dried oregano, 1 tsp coconut sugar, 1/2 lemon squeezed for juice, 1/2 tsp of salt.  Put in the vitamix in the order that is listed, mix for 1 minute up to 10 and then high. I browned some grass-fed ground beef with Penzey’s Chicago steak seasoning, added the sauce and simmered for about a 1/2 hour.  It was the best & easiest homemade pasta sauce I’ve ever made. I’m thinking of having a canning party one of these days. 

pastasaucewithzoodles1. Amazing friends who know how to keep you motivated. This is Kristine. Kristine is my long time college friend and Garmin Connection.IMG_2170

We met in college over a shared love for PRSSA and Chicago. Both from the Milwaukee area, we ended up in Chicago after graduation. She still lives there, and I’m slightly jealous. I’ve been talking to her about ordering a Vivofit since I lost my fitbit a few months back. I just didn’t know if I could justify purchasing another activity tracker. I finally bit the bullet on Wednesday and by Thursday I received my package in the mail. Talk about fast delivery :-) Imagine my surprise when I opened my box, expecting just to see my Vivofit and a package of bands:



I was wondering why it so much heavier than expected! Besides my vivofit and bands, in the box I found a new snazzy Garmin tee, a heart rate monitor, water, packs of fluid performance, scratch hydration mix (I tried this at PRO a few weeks ago and I really liked it!) ProBar energy chews, Power bar energy chews, Honey stinger energy chews (my fave!), and a lululemon gift card. On three of the flaps there were messages. One message was a personal one from Kristine reminding me that we have 8 weeks left to go, that we can do this and to never give up. The other two flaps were quotes: “When you feel like quitting, think about why you started” and “Dead last is greater than did not finish which trumps did not start.” I love it! 

Thank you so much Kristine for giving me the motivation that I so desperately needed to power through these next 8 (almost 7 weeks!) You are truly a blessing and I can’t wait to celebrate our victories in Chicago. #chimarathon2014

What was the highlight of your week? It was a fairly good week over here, but my special delivery was definitely my highlight! 

Look Who’s Two!

On Sunday we celebrated Madelyn’s 2nd Birthday.  I can’t believe how quickly these past two years have gone by.  It makes me kind of sad that she is no longer the small, squishy, cuddly baby we brought home from the hospital. 
IMG_1049Although I miss the days of just rocking with her pressed up against my chest, it brings me joy to watch her grow, learn and explore the world around her.
IMG_2553We kept the second birthday pretty small and casual-just family. Madelyn’s the only everything (grandchild, niece, great niece) so everyone definitely went above and beyond with gifts this year. Amongst the favorites the cozy coupe from Grandma & Grandpa C and the swingset from Grandma G. She cried yesterday when I told her we had to go inside to eat dinner.  
Larry grilled up some burgers & beer soaked brats and I bought some side salads from Costco along with a cake and cupcakes from Whole Foods. It was the easiest clean up from a party I’ve ever had. The weather was also so nice that everyone pretty much hungout in the backyard.
IMG_2657What’s new with Madelyn?
-Crayons & coloring. Not always on paper but not yet on walls. I have a distressed table in our living room and she’s taken it upon herself to add to the “distressed” look.
-Singing. ABCs, songs from Frozen, Happy Birthday & Old McDonald are some of her top favorites
-Along with singing comes dancing. Girl can bust a move.
-Elmo & Dora. She will maybe sit for a few minutes of it, but she’d rather play than watch TV and I’m more than ok with that.
-Ice Cream.
-Grabbing stuff and saying “mine!”  :-/
-Giving hugs. Oh the hugs. When I’m changing her clothes, she’ll grab my shirt and pull me in for a nice big hug. Melt my heart.
-Raw vegetables
-Holding hands in parking lots
-Riding in the cart at the store. She’d much rather be walking around
-Sitting nice on the couch. She seems to think couch=trampoline.
Every day she is learning or doing something new. She’s a reminder that sometimes I need to just slow down and take it all in before I miss something. Happy two years of life liltte peanut, we love you very much!

Week 10 CM Training Recap

Happy Wednesday! We’re half-way through the week and HALFWAY THROUGH MARATHON TRAINING!!!!!!!!! I’m excited and scared all at the same time.  October 12th can’t get here fast enough.  So far, my training has been going okay.  I’m trying my hardest to get my longer runs done with a local running group.  On days when I have Saturday plans and can’t make the build up runs, I do my long runs on Fridays after work, which can be very challenging.  But I’m powering through, foam rolling through the pain all with a smile on my face :-) Here’s a little Recap of Week 10 Chicago marathon training:
Monday-Madelyn had surgery. She had her adenoids removed. Runny nose gone. I took off of work for two days which really wasn’t needed because my child is the most resilient little girl I’ve ever met. mannie
Headed to the gym(!!) where I did a little rowing action, weights, core work and finished up with a little workout on the spin bike.
Tuesday-Ran 4.15 miles @9:11 pace
Wednesday-Run 7 miles @9:31 pace. The weather was hot & sticky. But I stumbled across a new hiding place-somewhere I can go to think about things or just “be”. It was beautiful and so peaceful. I’m thinking of taking up trail running after the marathon is over.
mysanctuaryThursday-Run 4 miles @9:14 pace. Legs were tired and heavy. I struggled to keep up with my co-worker, Jen. She pushed me hard the last 1/2 mile.
Friday-Rest Day/Stretch. Didn’t stretch nearly enough. Instead, ate pizza, drank wine, and found comfort in my mother’s word’s of wisdom :-)
Saturday-My goal was 14-16. I Ran 12 @ 9:46 pace. It was tough. All I wanted to do was sleep (I ran on 4 hours of sleep), but I forced myself to get out there knowing it would make me feel a little better. I never regret a run no matter how good or bad it is. It was sunny, hot, and I forgot my GU. I’m lucky I made it 12 miles. Later that day my child locked me out of the house…icing on the cake.
Sunday-Rest day. We celebrated Madelyn’s birthday. I cannot believe that she’s two. It seems like it was only yesterday that she was making her debut into this crazy world.

Are you training for anything? If so, how’s your training going? Any other Chicago Marathoners out there?

Fitting it all In…Or not.

Happy Wednesday! I just completed a 7 mile run and I’ve convinced myself that if I wait to do my training runs during the hottest part of the day, it can only help me come race day, right?! Here’s to hoping.  

After my run, I stopped and did some stretching near a local park bench and heard something I’ve never heard before (or paid attention to?) :A waterfall! I walked over to check it out and imagine my surprise when I saw this:



I’ve lived here pretty much my whole life and I had no idea this existed. After my marathon is over, I think I’m going to explore the world of trail running. I didn’t realize Milwaukee had such awesome trails.  

I’ve been thinking a lot about life, fitting it all in and being the mom that can do it all. It’s no secret that I enjoy being busy. If I’m not training for one thing, I’m studying for something else. I used to think that I functioned better with busy chaos in my life, but that was pre-Madelyn. I didn’t really have to put anything before myself, I could just do whatever, whenever.   

I realized about a month ago, that I was in over my head and that I cannot, in fact, do it all. Enter re-evaluating priorities.

Number 1 priority?


These two loves of my life. When I signed up for the marathon, the first thing my husband said to me was, “Make sure you’re not taking on too much.” My response?  “Don’t worry babe, I got this!” And I did, but at the cost of other things.

Barre instructor training, although very fun, was very time consuming. I initially thought that I’d give up my Monday mornings and that would be it. But once I started teaching, I realized that I had to put in a lot of time outside the studio to really do a great job. I didn’t think I’d have any problems since I’d started taking barre classes years ago, but it’s so much different being on the other end as opposed to being a client. It was taking the fun out of barre for me and I promised myself that when it stopped being fun, it wasn’t worth it to me. I also missed having my Mondays off and spending time with my little tot. She’s going to be two this week and to say that time has flown by would be an understatement. I want to cherish these early years as best as I can before I’m no longer “cool”.



Oh, and then there’s my actual job.

MariaCampbellAs much as I love having hobbies, I need to realize that not only am I a wife and mom, but I also work 10 hour days. Which turns out to be 12 hours with commute time/getting the little one to daycare. So that extra Monday off is completely necessary.  

That’s about where we are right now. I know that I can do anything I put my mind to, I just can’t have it all at once. So I’m taking a big, deep breath of fresh air, focusing on one thing at a time, and cherishing every moment I have with those that matter most. Because that, after all, is what life’s really all about.  


Running With Purpose


I just began week 10 of marathon training…so maybe now’s a good time to mention the marathon?! 

In May, I decided to bite the bullet and train for the Chicago Marathon.  I knew that I wanted to do it again (I had to beat my time after all!) I just wasn’t sure about how soon I would attempt to take on 26.2 miles.  I knew that there was no better time like the present.  If I waited any longer, other things might get in the way of me training for another fall marathon, so thinking about life and plans and stuff, I knew it was either this year or it would probably have to wait a few more years.

So I’m doing it!  And once again, I will be fundraising money for Salute, Inc-an organization that helps out military members, veterans and their families.  Last year, some of the proceeds went to a woman who lived right here in Milwaukee!  It’s an awesome organization and I’m proud to be part of it all.  


Which brings me to my topic: Running with Purpose.  I’ve never ran a full marathon without having a fundraising commitment.  Last year, I missed the deadline for Chicago and my only way in was through a charity.  This year, I did actually “win the lottery” but by the time I had decided to do it, it was too late.  So enter charity again.  I had a lot of fun last year raising money for Salute, Inc.  My goal last year was $750 and I surpassed that amount tremendously.  This year, my goal is $1500 and i’m half way there.  This year, I’ve organized breakfasts and bake sales at work and it’s helped out a lot.  

I’m not going to lie…the one thing missing this year during my training is motivation.  Last year, I didn’t know what to expect and I was so excited to be working towards the goal of finishing a marathon.  This year, I’m like eh.  I just kind of want the race to be here already.  Obviously, I know that in order to do better this time around I have to train smarter and I’ve been pretty good in getting my long runs completed over the weekend.  It just seemed easier for some reason last year.  The one thing getting me out there, pounding the pavement, is the amount of support I’ve had from my family and friends.  My husband has been pretty amazing on Saturday mornings…he gets home from working weird hours, stays up with our bundle of energy while I go run for hours and hours.  (My mom’s really good at helping out too!) There have been challenging training runs where I’ve doubted myself and my ability to stick this out, but the awesome training runs, the support from family and friends and knowing that I’m helping another person in need keeps me going.    


What keeps you motivated when you’ve hit a rut during training for an event? Last year, I watched Spirit of the Marathon & that got me super pumped up to run!!